Utah Wildlife Board Makes Changes To Prairie Dog Management Plan
The Utah Wildlife Board has updated rules regarding the Utah Prairie Dog, should the species be de-listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Utah Prairie Dog has been listed on the act since 1973. Unregulated poisoning was the major contribution to the decline of the species population. Utah Prairie Dogs are only found here on the southwest portion of the state. Extensive monitoring and conservation efforts from the time the prairie dogs were placed on the endangered list has helped the species recover. Each spring, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources conducts a survey to determine the population of Utah Prairie Dogs. Over each of the past three years, Utah Prairie Dog populations were nearly three times the number counted in 1971. Additionally, long term information shows the wide range population of the Utah Prairie Dog has been stable or increasing over the last three decades. Based on this information, the DWR maintains that the Utah Prairie Dog should be de-listed from the Endangered Species Act. If that happens, the DWR would continue species management under the Utah Prairie Dog Conservation Strategy for the foreseeable future, with periodic reviews. Some of the ongoing conservation efforts for the prairie dogs would include continuing to monitor how the population is doing during the annual spring count and continuing to trans-locate Utah Prairie Dogs from areas where there are conflicts with private landowners. The division would continue to move the animals to public land in an effort to re-establish or supplement colonies. During Tuesday's meeting the wildlife board also made changes to the Utah Black Bear Management Plan.